Why MGM casino workers in Detroit say they voted down contract offer

Posted at 3:39 PM, Nov 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-20 17:27:01-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — MGM Grand Detroit union workers are out on the picket line again today.

They are the only Detroit casino group that voted down last Friday's tentative contract offer from Detroit casinos.

Strikers outside MGM Monday told 7 Action News that the historic offer was close, but not quite there.

"I was afraid that a 64-month contract was just too long," said Wendy Abraham, a union member and dealer at MGM Grand Detroit.

The long duration of the contract was a key issue for Abraham and many of the 700 some MGM union workers who voted not to ratify the contract.

The second key issue seemed to be the $3/hour upfront pay raise.

Catherine Bilek Roberts, who also works at MGM, said, "We should at least get $6, or $7 an hour, the first year."

Roberts co-worker Nina Hamilton said, "The baseline was way too low."

Abraham said that she believed to sign the contract would put future union workers at a disadvantage.

However, not everyone agrees.

More than 600 MGM workers voted "yes" on ratification.

LaKeisha Hampton is one of them and told 7 Action News that she was surprised the contract didn't get ratified, and was also surprised the pressure she experienced Friday to vote "no."

"I had people that were shuttling me back to my car that were like ‘make sure you vote no,'" shared Hampton. "I’m ready to go back to work, I have a life outside of here, I have a son getting ready to graduate from high school."

When asked what it would take for her to vote "yes" on a future contract, Abraham said, "All it would take for me is a little bonus up front instead of year five, and a reduction to four years for the contract, or three years."

MGM issued the below response to the vote:

MGM Grand Detroit Team,

Today the DCC held a vote of its members to ratify the tentative agreement we announced Friday.

Unfortunately, our employees voted not to ratify the agreement. This is a very disappointing

result, especially considering the historic nature of our offer and the fact that it would

immediately and positively benefit our DCC‐represented MGM Grand employees and their


It’s also disappointing because the other two Detroit casinos voted “yes” on ratification. All

employees were voting on the exact same contract, which the DCC itself said was “a historic

investment in Detroit’s future” and “fulfills the gaming industry’s promise to Detroit of high‐

paying casino jobs with good benefits.” Again, it’s disappointing that our DCC‐represented

employees would vote to reject a contract that the overall majority has approved.

Looking ahead, we will continue to remain open and operational just as we have throughout the

strike. More than 600 of our DCC‐represented employees voted “yes” on ratification and, as has

been the case throughout this strike, we will allow any employee who wishes to cross the picket

line and return to work to do so.

As a reminder, our tentative agreement with the DCC includes:

 The largest wage increases ever negotiated in the Detroit casino industry’s 23‐year

history, including an immediate 18% pay raise on average.

 No health care cost increases for employees

 Workload reductions and other job protections

 First‐ever technology contract language, retirement increases and more.

I will continue to keep you posted as we consider our options for next steps.

Thank you for everything you are doing to provide our guests with an incredibly positive



Matt Buckley

President & COO

Midwest Group